I’ll start by saying I had no idea that Parma was such a foodie destination in Italy until we got there. Not only did we discover some of the best Parma food tours, we realised this city is home to some of the best food tours in Italy!
Located in the region of Italy known as the food valley, which stretches from below Milan and past Bologna towards the coast, you simply cannot go wrong with any Emilia Romagna food tour in the region.
We stayed in Parma for a week, allowing us time to experience a food tour in Parma, Italy and also use Parma as a base to visit Cinque Terre, Milan, Florence and other beautiful towns in Tuscany.
Here I want to tell you about the best Parma food tour experience as we did, as well as all the other food tours in Parma, Italy that we wished we had time to do! Sadly our ferry from Ancona to Croatia was already booked so we couldn’t extend our time in Parma, but we will be back for sure!
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What is Parma famous for?
I naively assumed that Parma was only famous for parmesan cheese and the famous Parma ham and prosciutto.
But Balsamic Vinegar, Tortelli d’Erbetta - a variety of Tortelli pasta, famous wines, dairy products and other pasta varieties. Parma is also home to the headquarters of the world-famous Alma Italian Cooking School - located in the heart of Italy’s Food Valley.
Best food in Parma to try:
Even if you don’t go on a tour, don’t miss trying these local foods:
Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Parma ham and Prosciutto di Parma
Tortelli stuffed pasta
Culatello di Zibello
Lambrusco (a local sparkling red wine)
Gelato (of course!)
The best Parma food tour: the Parmigiano Reggiano food tour aka the Parma Italy cheese tour!
Parma Italy cheese factory tours are one of the most popular food tours in Parma for a reason!
The Parma cheese tour takes you on a guided experience of a traditional Parmigiano Reggiano cheese factory.
Did you know traditional Parmigiano Reggiano cheese is actually protected by the EU? That’s because its history and production date back 9 centuries and Parmigiano Reggiano is a specific type of Parmesan cheese which follows a specific ageing process. So if you’re looking for a parmesan cheese tour, Parma Italy is the ultimate place to experience it!
This Parma Italy cheese factory tour is only 2 hours long and because you’re part of a small group, it feels much more personalised and intimate.
It’s also handy because they pick you up from a hotel in the centre of Parma and you’re taken by mini bus to the cheese factory in Parma.
Also this tour is great value for money which is always a bonus for us! It includes:
Central pick up and drop off in Parma
Guided tour of the cheese factory where you’ll see the product being made
A cheese tasting
An accompanying wine tasting
So this is actually a great option if you’re looking for Parma food and wine tours - because you get both for one price on this tour!
The most interesting part of the production process was also learning about how the cheese is aged in stagionatura rooms, Here the cheese must meet strict ageing requirements before it can be sold.
The smell is INCREDIBLE!
This is the best parmigiano reggiano food tour and is an absolute must-do for foodies, cheese lovers or anyone looking for a cultural and gastronomic experience for things to do in Parma, Italy!
Other Parma, Italy food tours to consider…
These are the other amazing tours we wanted to do but simply didn’t have the time for.
Warning: may cause drooling!!
Parma Ham tour AND Parmigiano Reggiano combined food tour in Parma
If you have a little more time and you’re happy to spend a bit more money than the Parma cheese tour above, then this Parmigiano and Parma Ham Guided Food Tour might be the one for you!
Spend 3-4 hours visiting a traditional Parmigiano Reggiano cheese factory and a Parma ham factory, with cheese, ham and wine tastings all included in the price.
Learn about the process behind the products and also the best wine, cheese and ham pairings for them at your tasting session.
The best walking food tour, Parma Italy
If you’re more of a food n walk tour kind of person, this Parma street food tour might be the one for you!
Taking you to the best Parma street food spots, best Parma restaurants and hidden gems in Parma, you’re accompanied by a local expert who can tell you everything about the culinary delights of Parma and give you a true gastronomy experience of the city on this food tour in Parma.
You’ll sample some of the most famous Emilia-Romagna traditional dishes and stops can vary depending on availability and seasonality.
Parma day trip food tour
This full day Italy culinary tour has the incredible opportunity for multiple tastings after visiting a cheese factory, a traditional family run ham factory, the charming village of Torrechiara, home to a stunning castle, a farm-to-table lunch consisting of all the local dishes and favourites I mentioned above as must-try foods in Parma:
Prosciutto and local cold cuts
Tortelli di Parma
Lambrusco and Malvasia
The great part about this tour (and the main reason we considered doing it) is because there’s an option to save some money and do this as a self-drive tour if you have your own vehicle - which we did.
I’ll list both of the options below for the self-drive tour and the transport included tour:
Self-drive Parma gastronomy tour
Fully-guided Parma gastronomy tour pick up from Bologna or Modena
Parma Modena Balsamic Vinegar tour and tasting
If you’re a big Balsamic fan then of course being so close to Modena, you need to experience a Balsamic Vinegar tour from Parma.
This Parma Balsamic tour and tasting includes pick up and drop off from your hotel, tourings of an organic vinegar production and vineyard, tasting of 3 vinegars which are 15, 22 and 28 years old and a fully guided tour from an expert.
Parma, Italy: things to do for a foodie experience on a budget
The great news is that there are plenty of gastronomy museums and experiences for the budget friendly traveller looking for things to do in Parma.
Check out the Parmigiano Reggiano Museum which comes with a tasting option if you book here.
Or the Prosciutto Di Parma Museum which can be booked here.
Alternatively, the Culatello di Zibello Ham Museum, aka the King of Salami, can also be visited in Parma, book here.
If you’re a pasta lover, then the Parma Pasta Museum might be more up your street, book the pasta museum here.
Where to eat and drink in Parma, Italy
If you’re just looking for food and drink recommendations for Parma, we spent a week there and tried our fair share of places! Here’s a mini Parma food guide for you to choose from but I also recommend just taking the time to wander around the city and discover the culinary delights on your own too.
Trattoria Corrieri - stunning terrace, handmade pasta and local dishes
Trattoria Del Tribunale - small plates, al fresco style, local dishes
Ristorante Pizzeria La Duchessa di Parma - for pizza
Rigoletto - great pasta, super cosy place
Pasticceria Dolce Amaro - cakes and pastries
Bastian Contrario - for aperitivo and craft beers
J. Roger Speakeasy - for a secret bar and craft cocktails
Tabarro - gorgeous wine bar with tasting plates available
Summary: best food tours in Parma and foodie experiences in Parma, Italy
You can’t go wrong with visiting Parma as a foodie. There are so many amazing foodie experiences and culinary tours in Parma that you’re really spoilt for choice.
But whether you’re looking for a full day Parma food tour, a more local Parma walking tour or just some recommendations for where to eat in Parma Italy, hopefully this guide has given you plenty of inspiration and ideas for how to make the most of the Food Valley and the food scene in Parma.
Gastronomy experiences are the best way to experience the best food in Parma, Italy - especially if you’re short on time and keen to hear from a local expert about the fascinating culinary history of Parma and the Emilia Romagna region.
Pin this for later to plan your future trip!